LOS ANGELES (Oct. 3, 2013) --- Delegates to the inaugural SAG-AFTRA National Convention on Saturday unanimously approved an historic resolution recognizing and supporting the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.
The resolution states that SAG-AFTRA stands with LGBT members and fully supports their rights to equal employment opportunity and discrimination-free workplaces. The resolution was submitted jointly by the union’s newly-elected national officers, including President Ken Howard, Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino, and Vice Presidents Clyde Kusatsu, Mike Hodge, Ilyssa Fradin, David Hartley-Margolin, Robert Newman, Catherine Brown and Dan Navarro. It coincides with the release of results from a ground-breaking first-ever study regarding the experiences of LGBT members in the entertainment industry, which was sponsored by SAG-AFTRA in association with UCLA’s The Williams Institute
“This resolution unanimously passed by the convention delegates only reinforces what the study found: our membership community as a whole – regardless of sexual orientation – is aware of and sensitive to the issues SAG-AFTRA LGBT members face every day working in the entertainment industry,” said actors and SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee co-chairs Traci Godfrey and Jason Stuart. “Our members have witnessed discrimination and harassment of LGBT performers and they recognize it is a major issue. We are grateful to the convention delegates for passing this historic resolution and look forward to the next chapter in this process – creating an action plan and implementing it.”
The report, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Diversity in Entertainment: Experiences and Perspectives of SAG-AFTRA Members, released Sept. 27, found that LGBT actors face continued discrimination even as workplace opportunities and conditions improve. One-third of the survey respondents – including heterosexual members – believed casting directors, directors and producers are biased against LGBT performers.
SAG-AFTRA has long supported the rights of all performers, regardless of age, sexual orientation or disability. Its diversity committees have worked for years with producers, casting directors and others in the industry to recognize the diversity of the membership, which in turn is a reflection of the American Scene. Much of the union’s work in this field has influenced others in the labor movement, most notably the AFL-CIO, which initially at its 2009 Convention, and more recently at its convention in Los Angeles in September, reaffirmed via resolutions its support of LGBT, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and other diverse workers in every union nationwide.
The resolution adopted by the SAG-AFTRA Convention reads:
EEO & Diversity: Support for LGBT Members
WHEREAS, inclusion, diversity and equal employment opportunity are core elements of SAG-AFTRA’s mission to improve the lives of its members; and
WHEREAS, on Friday, September 27, 2013, SAG-AFTRA and the UCLA Williams Institute released the results of a groundbreaking, first-ever study of the experiences of SAG-AFTRA’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members in the workplace; and
WHEREAS, that study reflects the supportive attitudes and perspectives of most SAG-AFTRA members; and
WHEREAS, that study demonstrates that many LGBT performers have experienced employment-related discrimination and mistreatment, confirmed by the observations of their non-LGBT peers; and
WHEREAS, the study makes clear that most LGBT performers are still not confident enough to be open with industry decision-makers or the public about their orientation or identity; and
WHEREAS, SAG-AFTRA has both the responsibility and the opportunity to take short, mid, and long-term action to achieve substantial improvements in equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all underrepresented groups, including our LGBT members;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the SAG-AFTRA Inaugural National Convention that SAG-AFTRA stands in support of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members and their right to equal employment opportunity and discrimination-free workplaces; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Convention endorses the commitment of the SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee to develop short, mid, and long-term action plans and strategies to advance this cause; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Convention acknowledges the extraordinary work of the study team, including the UCLA Williams Institute, researchers M. V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D. and Jody L. Herman Ph.D., the SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee and staff, and the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund for a generous grant supporting this research.